Downforce Racing misses financial deadline for Baltimore Grand Prix, city still confident
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The Baltimore Business Journal reported the deadline, which was supposed to be March 15th, does not have apparently have the city concerned. Baltimore city officials feel Downforce will be able to get the job done and say they are pleased with the progress. (Not sure what what progress they are talking about if they haven't seen the reports!)
In case anyone missed it, Baltimore Racing Development, the original company that put on the Grand Prix, ran into financial issues. They were not able to payback millions of dollars owed to vendors, Baltimore city, and the state of Maryland. (Around $12 million is owed in total and $1.5 million is owed to the city and state.) Most are not expected to get any money back. The company went belly-up and the original five year contract with the Baltimore Racing Development was axed, leaving a vacancy for another company to step in.
The city then inked a new deal with Downforce Racing and Dale Dillion for the 2012 race. Mr. Dillion, who has had prior racing experience seemed like a better candidate for the job.
The this time around wants to ensure they will get their money's worth. The agreement with Downforce Racing was for tickets sales to enter into an escrow account and deliver monthly reports of the finances to the city.
This account would take $3.50 from every ticket straight into escrow account controlled by Baltimore city. This was instituted because the BRD didn't pay $1.3 million to the city which it owed in various fees and taxes.
The city is saying that there are many problems that need to be worked regarding the transactions and escrow account. They expect the issues to resolved quickly though.
The March 15th deadline, which was on Thursday, was the first financial reporting deadline. Downforce has a several other goals it must meet as well. This includes an agreement to use Camden Yards Sports Complex, where the pit lane will be setup, and sanctioning agreements with IndyCar and American LeMans. Neither agreements at this point in time have been worked out entirely by Downforce.
In general this does not bode well for Downforce and Dillion. The feeling many city resident have about Baltimore Grand Prix for 2012, which is bad, doesn't seem to be changing from this news.